By London correspondent Tony Hughes
Arsenal are set to have a major decision to make as they prepare to field a £25million bid for Theo Walcott.
West Ham co-owner David Sullivan revealed on Monday that his club will table an offer for a Premier League-based striker “later this week”.
Sullivan said the bid will be of up to £25million and, although he stopped short of naming the player, a well-placed source has told Football Insider he was referring to is Walcott.
The England international has had a disappointing campaign at Emirates Stadium and has been on the fringes of the Arsenal team in the second half of the season despite being fully fit.
He is set to miss out of England’s Euro 2016 squad after slipping behind Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud in the striker pecking order, as well as losing out to Alexis Sanchez and Alex Iwobi for one of the wide roles.
A well-placed Arsenal recruitment source has told Football Insider that the club are willing to allow Walcott to leave if they can secure a fee of £25million for the 27-year-old.
Walcott signed a new £110,000-a-week, four-year contract last summer to extend his spell with the club he joined as a 16-year-old to 10 years.
He has scored 85 goals in 343 appearances for Arsenal, including nine from 42 matches this season.
West Ham are willing to come close to Arsenal’s valuation for Walcott in order to make him their record signing this summer.
Sullivan gave some insight into the club’s ambitious summer transfer plans as the east Londoners prepare to make their move to the Olympic Stadium, which will increase revenue streams at the club.
“We hope to bring in one or two top players,” Sullivan told Sky Sports News HQ on Monday afternoon. “The Olympic Stadium gives us about £12million a year of extra income.
“We put a bid in today for €30million for a player and other bids are going in. We’re going to be making a £20- £25million bid for a player in England later this week.
“Whatever happens we intend to bring a top striker in.”
Asked if West Ham would be spending £50million on two players, Sullivan told Sky Sports News: “No, one or the other.” Asked for a name, Sullivan replied, “I can’t give you a name, we’re not close enough.”
As reported by Football Insider in March, West Ham had compiled a striker shortlist that included Michy Batshuayi, Liverpool’s Christian Benteke, Manchester City’s Wilfried Bony and Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette.
Sullivan’s comments make it clear that West Ham are ready to smash their club record transfer fee of £15.5million, which was spent to entice Andy Carroll from Liverpool in the summer of 2013.
Carroll is comfortably the Hammers’ record signing, although the club have also spent £10million-plus fees on the likes of Payet, Enner Valencia and Angel Ogbonna.
In other West Ham news, co-chairman David Gold has spoken boldly of where the club can finish next season if they strengthen their squad this summer.